Sunday, May 2, 2010

Christopher Holland: Destruction's Handyman

This is a tale from my more mature years. It concerns that walking accident Chris Holland. For those of you who don't know him I'll describe Chris a bit. Imagine, if you will, a puppy. A loving, bouncing, cheerful, cuddly puppy. A puppy that is six foot one and weighs one hundred and eighty pounds. A puppy at the height of it's awkward stage that can't run three feet without tripping over the rug, tumbling into a table, knocking over a vase that is destined to roll into the path of some passerby tripping them down a set of stairs.

That, in essence, was and is Chris Holland. In fact, he became so famous in our group for it that the phrase “Chrised it up” was born. An example: “What happened here? There is water everywhere!” “Well, I was going to mop and totally Chrised it up...” When you combine his inability to walk in a strait line with his inherit desire to always be helpful you get a very rare thing. In short, you get Destruction's Handyman.

Right after Chris graduated he took a job working with Joshua, Jonathan, Adrian and myself. On his first day we decided to clean out the old camper we were using for an office. It was full of all kinds of junk that we didn't need and that was just taking up space. Most of this stuff was completely harmless. In fact, it was so harmless that even Chris couldn't hurt himself on it and that is saying something. However, one of the items was a small gas stove. It had a bit of a sharp edge and caught my notice as my brother and I were pulling it out of the camper.

Josh opened the dialog:

“We better set this well out of the way. With all of us going in and out of the camper somebody could trip over it or worse.”

“I was thinking the same thing. Especially with Chris helping us.”

“I know... That crossed my mind as well.”

We set the stove down say ten or twelve feet from the path we were using. It was our feeling that someone would have to go out of their way to run into it with it that far out. Knowing Chris as well as we did this was almost inexcusable. We should have immediately wrapped it up in old sheets until it was a large soft ball and then hauled it to the dump without delay. However, we underestimated him and didn't take the necessary precautions.

Perhaps ten minutes later I had sat down on a log with a load of video game manuals. (We worked for a video game company, so it was part of my job.) I was reading through them determining what we needed to keep and to trash. I saw Chris walk along and bump into the stove over the edge of the manual I was reading. I thought to myself that I should have seen it coming, but I ignored it. Chris walked over to me and stood there in front of me. I refused to look up and pretended to be completely involved in the manual I was looking at. I felt certain that whatever harm had befallen him it wasn't worth looking up over it.

After a moment Chris spoke:

“Bro, I'm hurt.”

“Are you?”


“Is it bad?”

“I think so. I don't want to look.”

At this I lowered my book. Immediately I wished I had done it sooner. The poor guy had managed to cut himself right below the kneecap. It was more of a gash really than a cut. I started yelling orders and we got Chris to a seat and started working to control the bleeding.

“What happened?” I asked.

“I'm not sure. I just bumped into that stove and it cut me.”

“Well, the bleeding isn't stopping. You are going to have to hold this paper towel on it long enough for me to go to town. We need some supplies.”


One quick trip to town later and we were back with saline, pain killer spray and butter fly bandages.

“First I am going to spray some of this pain killer on it, then the saline, then I will bandage it up.”


I sprayed the wound with pain killer.



“Ahhh! What is that stuff?”

“Pain killer...”

“Ahhh! Well it doesn't work!!!”

I sprayed the saline on it expecting him to really scream.

“Oh... much better. Wash that 'pain killer' off of me. Wash it with saline all you like, but please no more 'pain killer'...”

After a while we finally stopped the bleeding and called it a days work. One would think that at some point Chris would have begun to understand that he was a danger to himself and everyone around. One would hope that he would become more cautious. He didn't for as long as he was working with us, however. The next great project we took on was building a new office to replace the old camper.

For this tale I will pass by much of the story and get right to the next great Chris exploit. I was working on the roof of the new office. It was in the middle of a heat wave and I wanted to get done as quickly as possible. Chris had volunteered to help me in order to speed me along. I considered the offer for perhaps three one hundredths of a second before I rejected the idea. It was kind of him to offer, but there was no way he would speed me up.

I started rolling the tar paper out on the bare wooden roof. I only tacked it in a few places because I was in a hurry. I figured I was about to shingle the entire roof anyway, so the paper only needed to be tacked up. While I was working on it Chris popped his head up over the edge of the roof.

“You sure you don't need any help?”

“No thanks Chris I got it.”

“You sure?”

“Yea, this shouldn't take me long at all.”

He stood on the top of the ladder watching me work. I got one side of the roof tar papered in around five minutes or so and then went to the other side. I rolled out the tar paper and tacked it down. All that was left to do was to run a strip down the middle and then I was ready to start putting down shingles.

Here I need to mention the fact that the building itself was only twelve by twelve. That means that each side of the roof was close to eight feet. It important to note that Chris is just over six feet tall so he could cover most of the length of one side with his body. Now, you may be asking yourself why that is important to note. The reason will become clear soon.

Just as I got to the point where I could see over the peek of the roof I saw Chris. He was standing on the top of the ladder preparing to step off onto the roof. He had one leg completely stretched out to it's full length as if he was trying to get as far onto the roof as he could in a single step. I attempted to yell “Stop!”, but I was too late.

He dropped his foot like a lead weight. It looked more like someone throwing a board up onto the roof than stepping out onto it. His leg was as rigid as if it had been made of granite. As soon as his foot touched the roof, that is to say the tar paper, he shifted all his weight in order to make one mighty step.

The results were simple enough. The tar paper ripped and Chris slipped and slapped the roof like a flyswatter. The tar paper that wrapped around his feet took all of his traction and he began to slide off with amazing speed. He did the only thing he could think of and began to roll around as he descended. I suppose he was trying to find any part of his body that still had enough grip to keep him on the roof. It was no use. The more he rolled around the more he became encased in tar paper. By the time he reached the edge of the roof he looked like a tar paper mummy.

All this happened in a flash. All I had time to do was yell.

“Chris! Chris! Chris! Chris! Chris! Chris!”

There was nothing else to say...

By the grace of God he was barefoot. As he slid the last few inches that separated his behind from the edge of the roof he caught the ladder with one toe. I know it's amazing, almost unbelievable, but that's how it happened. He had caught the ladder with one pinky toe. It wasn't much, but it was enough. It stopped his slide long enough for him to slap a bare hand on the roof. He didn't fall!

As he sat there panting for breath and completely wrapped in tar paper I opened a dialog.

“Ok Chris, first start tearing off the tar paper and drop it off the roof.” He obeyed at once.

“Now, I want you to understand a couple of things. First, if I need your help I will let you know. I will say something like 'Chris, I need your help.' Then I will tell you exactly what I need you to do. So, you don't need to do what you just did again until you hear me say 'Chris, I need your help. Come up here and tear all the tar paper off the roof'.”

He hung his head and apologized. I don't remember if I laughed then, I was still shook up by the fact that he had almost fallen off the roof. However, I've laughed a lot about it since then. It was worth twenty five cents worth of tar paper and ten minutes work in one hundred and three degrees to get the story. Chris was and is something else...

I hope everyone enjoyed this.

1 comment:

  1. Gotta love Chris. And I've laughed again until I'm crying.